Google recently announced that its cloud-based phone system, the Google Voice, is now integrated into its productivity suite as an add-on. More specifically, the search giant integrates Google Voice into its two existing messaging applications, namely Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet, as well as other G Suite components like Google Calendar and Contacts apps.
Google noted that businesses of various sizes could take advantage of the new add-on as the search giant optimized its service to cater to companies with different staffing levels. Aside from providing easy-to-deploy voice service, Google also offers improved security and convenience through the integration of Google Cloud's security and artificial intelligence features into the phone system.
Once administrators purchase the necessary licenses for the Google Voice add-on, employees can now take phone calls from their work number on any device, ranging from their smartphones to their laptops. Google's expertise in artificial intelligence allows Google Voice to transcribe voicemails and filter calls from potential spammers automatically. Google's experience in machine translation and text-to-speech also benefits subscribers of Google Voice by creating call menus in up to nine different languages, making it easier for businesses to direct callers to appropriate departments without preparing multiple recordings or translations.
On the part of administrators, the cloud-based phone system allows IT staff to set up and assign numbers and see the expenses related to voice calls directly on G Suite's admin console. G Suite also allows admins to easily migrate their existing numbers to Google Voice, while users themselves can arrange their service and choose a number that they prefer without any intervention from IT admins.
Google offers three pricing plans for Google Voice, and these plans range from $10 a month per user to $30 a month per user. All three plans support unlimited calling within the United States, unlimited text messages, transcription of voicemails, call forwarding, integration with Google Calendar and Hangouts Meet, and 24/7 support. However, the primary differences between the three plans are the number of supported users and locations.
The cheapest plan, which costs $10 per user monthly, is limited to ten users and ten areas within the US, while the mid-tier plan, which has a price tag of $20 per month, supports an unlimited number of users and domestic locations. This plan also features support for desk phones. Meanwhile, the most expensive plan, which costs $30 a month, allows companies to include users from international locations and IT admins to choose which data regions to use for their phone systems.
Background: Google launched Google Voice several years ago, and it is one of several messaging services developed by the search giant, which also includes Android Messages, Hangouts Chat, Hangouts Meet, and Google Duo. The release of Google Voice for businesses is already in the works for several months, with firms participating in the Early Adopter Program of G Suite taking advantage of the feature since July last year.
Impact: Google Voice integration adds to the list of features that the search giant had introduced into its productivity suite. With its expanding feature set, Google hopes that it could gain more corporate customers, which should help reduce its reliance on advertising for most of its revenue.